It is only once the final credits roll that it becomes clear how badly director Morten Tyldum has misjudged the necessary tone, and how indefensible the ending is. The terrific premise of Jon Spaihts’ screenplay finds Jim (Chris Pratt), an engineer aboard an interstellar ship carrying emigrants to a colony planet, awakened 90 years early from his cryosleep due to a malfunction, then makes a desperate choice to awaken another passenger, a writer named Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence), rather than live out the rest of his life alone. The story is fairly strong while it’s a two-hander morality play—two-and-a-half, if you count Michael Sheen’s android bartender—about the actions we justify in the name of our own survival, leaving aside cribbing its most romantic moment from WALL-E. Then it turns into a crisis sci-fi adventure, which might have been justifiable if it had all built to a resolution with some bite to it. Instead, Passengers fails miserably at guiding the characters to the only place that would have allowed them to be something besides a criminal and a victim.
Director: Morten Tyldum
Producer: Stephen Hamel, Michael Maher, Neal H. Moritz, Ori Marmur, David Householter, Ben Browning, Jon Spaihts, Bruce Berman, Greg Basser, Ben Waisbren and Lynwood Spinks
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Andy Garcia, Vince Foster, Kara Flowers, Conor Brophy, Julee Cerda and Aurora Perrineau